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California BAR releases enforcement data for end of 2023

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Collision Repair | Legal
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California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) received 10.6% more complaints during the final months of 2023 than in 2022, according to recently released data.

There were 4,300 complaints filed to BAR during October, November, and December of 2022, with 4,756 filed in 2023.

BAR received the most complaints, or 1,549, for the “engine repair and engine performance” category. The “general repair and maintenance” and “auto body” categories followed with 831 and 754 complaints.

Repairer Driven News previously covered repair shops’ complaints to BAR regarding storage fee disputes between customers and insurers.

As in other states, shops say some insurers have been refusing to pay daily storage rates, leaving customers with the bill.

Overall, BAR received 96 towing and storage complaints, the report shows. Storage fees received 39 complaints, towing 41, and lien sales/storage charges 16. Towing and storage received the least amount, or 2%, of all the categories.

The top five complaints for each category reviewed above include:

    • Engine repair and performance negligence — (806), false and misleading statements (393), damages (342), contractual (211), and authorizations (163).
    • General repair and maintenance — (420), damages (279), false and misleading statements (177), product quality (85), and contractual (78).
    • Autobody — negligence (283), false and misleading statements (201), damages (161), contractual (157), and estimates (98).
    • Towing and storage contractual — (33), false and misleading statements (20), damages (14), unprofessional conduct (14), and other allegations (11).

The average time it took BAR to investigate and close a case that did result in formal discipline was 50 days during the three months. BAR reached its goal of ending an investigation with no discipline in 60 days.

For complaints that received a formal discipline, it took BAR an average of 584 days to complete the investigation, according to the report. BAR missed its goal of 540.

Formal discipline can include fines, probation and suspension or revocation of license, according to BAR’s website.

The California Autobody Association previously warned that BAR’s investigations of complaints can be complex, such as BAR reviewing shop practices not initially mentioned in the complaint.

BAR also offers a post-repair inspection program for consumers, the data report said. Through the program, the state inspects consumer vehicles and verifies the completion of repairs listed on an invoice.

The number of  program inspections conducted dropped by 54% between the final months of 2022 and 2023, the data shows.

There were 61 inspections conducted in 2023 with 23 resulting in a complaint filed with the department. In 2023, there were 28 inspections, with eight resulting in a complaint filed.


Photo courtesy of LPETTET/iStock 

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